zoomIllustration; Image Courtesy: Pxhere under CC 2.0 license Hamburg Vessel Coordination Center (HVCC) and towage services provider Kotug Smit Towage plan to work together at the Port of Hamburg in order to coordinate preliminary planning for ship calls and departures, and the associated tug services.The move is expected to further optimize the efficiency and quality of ship handling in the Port of Hamburg. “We believe the comprehensive network and data exchange within the port industry offers enormous potential for increased efficiency in the Port of Hamburg,” Gerald Hirt, Managing Director of HVCC, commented.Kotug Smit Towage is the first port service provider that will have access to the HVCC’s time-related and geographically extensive planning system. The company, which operates a fleet of five tugs in Hamburg, will receive a dashboard solution from HVCC with access to all relevant traffic data, providing it with real-time information relating to changes in ship call planning and terminal handling.Environmental data such as wind, water levels and tide are also integrated and processed in the system. This direct communication channel will improve reaction times in the case of schedule changes as well as resource planning for operational tug deployment, particularly at peak traffic periods.The data will allow Kotug Smit to better plan rest periodes for the tug teams and send tugs directly from one assignment to the next. This will in turn lead to savings in bunker consumption as the fleet. In addition, the assignments and the routes can be more efficiently coordinated. The result would be a reduction in CO2 emissions, according to Kotug Smit.“We are particularly pleased to be joining forces on this pilot project. Progressive digitisation is the way of the future, and with this comprehensive information platform, we expect to see improvements in tug capacity utilisation, as well as even more efficient route and operational planning on board the tugs,” Eva Beykirch, General Manager of Kotug Smit Towage in Germany, said.In June, HVCC signed a cooperation agreement with the Rotterdam Port Authority to exchange data directly via an interface. The information pertains to planned and actual arrival and departure times for ships coming from or heading to either Hamburg or Rotterdam.HVCC is the central, neutral and industry-wide coordination point for mega-ship, feeder and inland vessel traffic in the Port of Hamburg.